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Universal health care bill dies

 February 1, 2022 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Tuesday, February 1st>>>>

What happened with California’s single payer health care bill

More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….######

San Diego county public health officials reported more than 2,000 new covid-19 cases on monday, while the omicron surge is appearing to decline. They also reported 21 additional deaths. More than 4,000 cases were reported on Sunday, and more than 5,000 on Saturday. Hospitalizations decreased by 30 according to state figures.

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Free n95 masks are now available at pharmacies and health centers in San diego.. not all pharmacies have them yet and the ones that do say they are going quickly.

In terms of facial coverings N95’s offer the best protection.

dr. william tseng with kaiser permanente san diego says in a covid hospital setting, the higher grade masks go in the trash after use.. he says it’s more about how long you wear it that matters.

“the duration of use is more important than the frequency. meaning hey if i use it for a 5 minute grocery trip or errand vs i wear it an entire day.”

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Today is the start of the “Year of the Tiger” Lunar new year. Celebrations kicked off in City Heights on Monday with the unveiling of a new mural to honor the Vietnamese community.

It was created by artist Thao Huynh French. She says it’s the most meaningful mural she’s ever painted.

“I put 8-to-11 hour days in, every single day, for eight days straight. So my hands feel like they're going to fall off, my eyes are very tired, but my heart is so full.”

The mural depicts a huge tiger. It’s on the side of Minh Ky restaurant on El Cajon Boulevard.

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From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need.

Free health care for all is a promise many politicians have made. But on Monday evening the California state assembly was unable to bring a controversial new proposal called “cal-care” to a vote. The bill was opposed by many doctors and by the insurance industry, and did not have the support that it needed to pass.

Kpbs reporter Kitty Alvarado has more on what was at stake for the uninsured.

Proponents of AB 1400, the state’s single payer healthcare bill, say it would transform one of the costliest for profit systems in the world… one they say often rejects life saving medical care even for those with insurance.

It’s estimated that over quarter million people in San Diego and Imperial Counties don’t have any health insurance.

Ric Epps, a political science professor at Imperial Valley College says it would provide coverage for the mostly minority population of uninsured and underinsured people in the state.

so we can at least provide a framework and a structure for that as opposed to just when they stumble into an emergency room somewhere and somebody has to take care of them, somebody’s still writing the check

Dr. William Tseng is the past president of the San Diego Medical Society and a member of the California Medical Association board. He says the system does need to change but this bill should focus on the 7 percent of uninsured Californians

I think the goal is really good, meaning the goal is really to get everybody covered really to have that access and the governor has done quite a bit to close that gap … I think we’re so close in getting the right direction AB 1400 really isn’t the way to go

The cost of care would be paid by a single payer… the government… in the form of taxes,

The latest estimates say taxpayers would shell out over 365 billion dollars per year.

That’s why the proposed bill would require a separate bill to be passed by voters to fund it.

Dr. Tseng says costs aside, decisions would also be taken out of the hands of doctors and have unintended consequences.

If you love what you have now there really is no assurance that you can keep what you have because the systems will not be there

Epps says if it doesn’t pass it will come back around in another form

It’s just too important as the baby boomers are aging and the rising costs of healthcare is leaving many people vulnerable financially vulnerable and their health is dependent on that then we have to do something

The bill is supported by the California Nurses Association.

Kitty Alvarado, KPBS News.

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While temperatures in San Diego remain chilly., residents are thinking twice before cranking up the heat after seeing their recent SDG&E bills. kpbs reporter tania thorne takes a closer look at the price increase.

Fallbrook resident Brenda Hudspeth used to receive an income-based discount on her SDG&E bill.

But this year she no longer qualifies for the discount.

“Its pretty upsetting that I’m not eligible for a discount and my bill has literally tripled and it just me and my daughter.”

SDG&E did increase its rates as of January first. On its website, the utility says it’s required to update energy pricing to reflect the costs of providing clean, safe and reliable service to customers….

SDG&E says customers should log on to their account to make sure they are on the best plan and to see if they qualify for any assistance programs. TT KPBS NEWS

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San Diego city has taken its first steps toward unwinding the controversial pension reform measure Proposition B. KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen says turning back the clock on Prop B is a costly but necessary action.

AB: Prop B excluded new city employees from the pension system. It was approved by voters in 2012. But the courts later found the measure illegal and ordered the city to offer pensions to all its impacted employees — plus a bonus to make up for its mistake. The City Council this week approved actions to implement those court orders. Councilmember Vivian Moreno says the supposed savings from Prop B never materialized.

VM: In fact, the opposite happened. The city began to have major problems in recruiting and retaining city employees because we couldn't offer competitive benefits.

AB: City officials estimate the total cost of undoing Prop B could exceed 80 million dollars. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news.

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Coming up....Thousands of low wage Californians are being hurt by delays on the part of the state government in dealing with the problem of wage theft.

"Government should be stepping in and policing these employers that are ripping people off"

We’ll have more on what’s causing these delays, next, just after the break.

A company with Burger King franchises in San Francisco owes nearly 2 million dollars to employees for wage theft, according to state investigators. But that was a year and a half ago and workers are still waiting because the state hasn’t scheduled a hearing to file their case.

KQED’s Farida Jhabvala Romero reports thousands more low wage Californians are also hurt by delays just like this one.

That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

California Democrats on Monday failed to gather enough support to advance a first-in-the-nation universal health care bill, succumbing to intense pressure from business groups and the insurance industry in an election year. Meanwhile, San Diegans are seeing their electricity bills skyrocket. Plus, the widespread impacts of wage theft in California, and why legal action against it has been delayed.